Thursday, February 17, 2011

Like Mother, Like Daughter

The scene: Mother, walking out of the bathroom after cleaning.

Sass: Oh, Mom, you smell good! Can I wear that perfume? What is it?

Me: Bleach.

I swear, I can't make these things up. I don't know if I've mentioned it here, but my love of bleach is no secret. Seems like Sassy takes after me in that.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011


A snippet of a texting conversation with my 9 year old:

Me: Do I need to tell Daddy how to rent the Redbox?

Me: Just tell him to put in the promo code before he swipes his credit card.

Sass: I got you covered, girl.

Maybe it's because I could hear her voice in that, but I laughed aloud right in the middle of Spyder's magic meeting.


Friday, February 11, 2011


Friday is my least favorite day of the week.

By the time Friday comes along, I've usually had a hectic week. Running here and there, schoolwork, messy house because I was busy with everything else. The minutia just catches up to me. I don't like Fridays.

For several years, the urchins and I didn't do book work on Fridays to alleviate my Friday Blahs. Instead we did "Friday Fun Time" where we would go to the zoo or a museum, or even just a park or a movie.

We haven't really done that since we moved. It's ironic that we now live in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the US, and it's harder to do things. Not because there aren't opportunities available, but because it just simply takes so long to get to things. It's not uncommon that it takes a hour just to get to a museum, once I factor in the time for locating parking. And some things are just cost prohibitive. I never realized how much I took it for granted that we lived near the Memphis museums and zoos. Getting there took 20 minutes, tops. And we were able to go to the zoo year-round. Ah, those were the days.

But the children miss it, and I miss it. So I'm making it my mission to seek out those opportunities.

Today's activity: outdoor ice skating.

I'll report back the results, assuming I can sit once it's all over. :)


Wednesday, February 09, 2011



I've never truly lived in the suburbs before. We lived in midtown Memphis, then we moved to a suburb of Memphis, but it wasn't The Suburbs as I had seen portrayed in movies. The houses were all older and different from one another, on unevenly spaced plots of land. That was our old neighborhood.

Now, we DO live in one of those neighborhoods that looks like a movie set. Every time I hear the "Over the Hedge" version of "Rockin' the Suburbs" I laugh because it is now so familiar. Skeeter drives past our house at least once a week because everything looks so similar.

This isn't to complain because we chose to live here. There ARE good things about our neighborhood. Skeeter and I aren't really suburb types -- I like my space, and people tend to annoy me -- but the urchins have many friends and places to play, and I am satisfied with that.

Still, our neighbors are now significantly closer, and Skeeter and I are careful to have good neighbor manners, specifically where the dogs are concerned. Just like us, the dogs were accustomed to having more space and (minus the squirrels) fewer neighbors. As a result, it took them a while to get settled. They were barky outside, but we made sure to shush them every time. And they stay in our yard; we don't let them roam free. Of course, with dogs, we have the usual "doing their business" issues, which -- again -- is in OUR yard and we clean up. (I might mention that we clean it much less frequently when it's 15 degrees out and there's snow on the ground, but we DO clean it.) While we are certainly not perfect, we do make an effort to not be intrusive on others.

Some of my slightly-too-close-for-comfort neighbors don't seem to make that same effort.

One neighbor with a beautiful Great Dane lets him sit outside and bark for 20 minutes at a time. BARK BARK BARK. BARK BARK BARK. They are three doors down, and it sounds like he is sitting in my yard. You'd think it would annoy his owners just as much as it annoys me.

The barking is bothersome. Very bothersome. But the worst ones are the neighbors who let their dogs do their business in other people's yards, either on a leash or by letting them roam free. I'm not particularly thrilled with having to clean up after my beasts, but I do it. I'm definitely not happy when I have to clean up after a dog belonging to someone else. It seems to be happening with increasing frequency too, and I'm completely at a loss for what to do about it.

I've never seen the dogs in action, but I'm cleaning up the aftermath, so I know it's happening. Sometimes it's on the sidewalk; sometimes it's in the driveway. Sometimes it's from a small dog; sometimes it's from a big one. It always makes me mad.

So ... suggestions? What can I do, if anything?


Sunday, February 06, 2011

Car snob

I am a car snob. I have no reason for it. My car is a Nissan Versa. This one. Yep, I still have that one. And I still love it.

It's really amusing to see my little car next to all of the other Mom Vehicles. SUV, SUV, van, SUV, van, my little car, van, SUV, van. The juxtaposition makes me smile.

My first car was a huge boat of a thing, one of those 70s classics. My dad bought it for me the night before I took my drivers test. (No pressure!) The shop class boys flocked around it before and after school, which amused me heartily since I was a nerd, and I seriously doubt they even knew my name. That huge boat of a car has probably colored my opinion of cars though. Since then, I've almost always had a small car.

My second car was an old Toyota. Manual transmission, which I didn't even know how to drive at the time I bought it. My previous experience was with my dad's old Ford truck with the shift on the column (not at all similar, which was a good thing since I thought it was difficult on the column) and my friend's mom's station wagon (which I ended up BACKING down the road because I couldn't even get it out of first gear). Of course, after having purchased the little Toyota, it was kind of a requirement to, you know, learn how to drive it. My dad took me out to one of the back roads and I drove. And drove and drove and drove.

And my snobbery began.

Turns out that I loved my manual transmission Toyota. Loved it. I drove it for a few years, then I moved out of town. The car was old, and I was always worried about driving such an old car with my daddy to far away to save me if I needed it. So my parents helped me find and buy another car. This time it was a 1987 Toyota Camry. Again with the manual transmission.

The Camry was owned by someone who drove a LOT. It was four years old when I bought it, and it had over 100,000 miles on it. But my dad (my mechanical genius) checked it out and said it looked good, so I bought it. Paid $6000 for it, and I drove it for nearly 12 years, when my dad pronounced it less reliable than I needed. I hated to get rid of her. The Grey Ghost was practically a member of the family.

I'll spare you the play-by-play on the other vehicles (one of them deserves her own post), but when I had the choice (read: Skeeter didn't need to drive it), I chose a manual transmission. My current vehicle is a manual transmission.

Not long ago, the urchins and I were discussing learning to drive, as Spyder will be learning pretty soon (ACK). It was never an issue whether he would learn on my (manual) or Skeeter's (automatic) vehicle. He will learn to drive a manual transmission. I'm indoctrinating them!

All kidding aside, I do think it's important. There were a couple of situations before I learned where I needed to drive one and couldn't (see above paragraph about backing down the road), and I don't want either of them to be unprepared if they are in similar situations someday. And maybe they will come to dear old mom's rescue when my old and arthritic joints can't manage the clutch or gearshift.


Thursday, February 03, 2011

In the wake of The Blizzard

As I mentioned yesterday, the blizzard came through in two phases. The first occurred from about 3 pm to 5 am. It never stopped snowing entirely, but it was slow enough that we could shovel. Until about 11 am, that is, when the second phase came through. That lasted until about 4 pm.

I should have taken more photos, but I was more worried about being able to open the garage and the front door without snow falling inside. And attempting to get Skeeter off to work.

This is our front door after the first wave. I didn't get a photo after the second.

And here is the drift between our house and our next door neighbor. Large, yes?

This is what it looked like during the second wave, about noon. This isn't the darkest it got. At one point it was a complete white-out, where we couldn't even see the houses across the street.

And our deck, during the second wave. We had completely cleared it after the first one, so all of that was new snow.

And the poor dogs. LOL. The lowest drifts were chest-high, and we don't have small dogs -- a 70 lb Lab and an 85 lb shepherd/lab mix. They were highly annoyed by the whole thing. This is Lucy, swimming her way through the snow to get back up the stairs and inside the warm house!

And here is Sass playing in the snow today. These are the snow piles from shoveling the driveway. You can't really tell from the perspective, but they are almost as high as the top of the garage door. She was using the snow pile as a sledding hill.

So now I can say I've been through a blizzard and dug my way out on the other side! And it was one that made the record books too.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Snowmageddon 2011


Spyder had an orthodontist appointment yesterday morning, but we were done before the snow began in earnest. We even had enough time to stop at Wendy's for lunch (doctor or dentist appointment = patient chooses lunch).

We were home by 1:30. The snow had started, but it was still in the early stages. Around 3 it really picked up, and by 5 the wind was howling. We even had thunder snow later that night. The snow was mostly over by the time we got up at 5:30 this morning. Skeeter was scheduled to report to work, so we started shoveling around 6:30.

Shoveling is where it got ... interesting.

First order of business was getting a path for the dogs. The deck had almost a foot of snow, so Skeeter cleared it, and we let the dogs out. They were highly annoyed with the snow, but they were able to get out and back with little trouble.

We had 3+ foot drifts completely covering our driveway. We don't have a particularly large driveway, but it took us almost 4 hours to move enough of the snow for Skeeter to get out. And that is only because one of the neighbors took pity on us and brought his snow blower over to help us get the last 10 feet or so.

It was snowing the whole time we were shoveling, sometimes lightly, sometimes more heavily. About the time we finished -- around 11 am -- the snow started feeling like a blizzard again. By the time I got inside, I had so much snow on me that my hair was crunchy!

Skeeter attempted to go in to work, but he ended up having to turn around less than a mile from home. The roads had not been plowed, and driving was treacherous. I was glad to see him pull back in the garage because I was worried about him driving in all that. Not long after he got home, the snow was so heavy that we couldn't even see the homes across the street.

The second wave of snow lasted until around 4 pm, and it completely undid all of the progress that we had made before. ::groan:: But it had to be done, so we headed on out. We are in for sub-zero temperatures tonight, which means that moving that snow would be a lot harder tomorrow!

Our official total is somewhere around 22 inches, but it sure felt like more!